Sometimes less is more; just ask psych-pop duo The Tamborines. Formerly renowned for engulfing their songs in a halo of fuzz, feedback and distortion, they've stripped away most of the noise elements and taken a more back-to-basics approach on 'Sea Of Murmur', their second long player and first for Beat-Mo, the band's own imprint.
Although originally hailing from Brazil, the duo - Henrique Larindo (vocals/guitar) and Lulu Grave (drums/keys/vocals) - have been based in London for over a decade now, and while there's definitely a post-C86 indie pop vibe to their make-up, it's an altogether different one to that which announced their arrival in 2006 with debut single 'Sally O'Gannon'.
Taking a more DIY approach with the recording process here than on their predecessor, 2010's 'Camera And Tremor', The Tamborines have concocted a record that's both melodic and dysfunctional which reveals them at their most vulnerable. "Something always rhymes with goodbye", sings Larindo on opener 'Another Day', which owes more in style to Sarah Records outfits The Field Mice and St Christopher than the austere Creation stylings of yore.
Recent single 'Ghost At The Lighthouse' follows a similar path, Grave daintily adding tambourine and keyboards over Larindo's gentle strum and apologetically sincere vocal. 'Fellini's Thorn' and 'Be Around' also take a walk along the warmer side, the former showing its aggressive nature by way of a distorted guitar outro in the final third.
'Black & Blue' and 'Indian Hill', both previously having featured on either side of the band's last release prior to this campaign - a 45 for Soft Power Records four years ago, find themselves reworked and ultimately revitalised here. The late 80s/early 90s feel conjured up in particular by 'Black & Blue' finds itself popping up at regular intervals, with reference points ranging from The Cramps ('Dreaming Girl') and Drop Nineteens ('Said The Spider To The Fly') to My Bloody Valentine's 'We're So Beautiful', which finds both its riff and melody given a 21st century makeover on 'One Afternoon'.
Elsewhere, 'Slowdown' channels the spirit of cutesy jangly pop with resolute elegance while emotively melancholic closer 'The Most Important Thing' suggests all wasn't sunshine and laughter during those fraught recording sessions holed up in the band's West London studio, which they no longer occupy.
With 'Sea Of Murmur', The Tamborines have showed another, overtly eloquent side to their bow. The bellies of fire on their previous records have been replaced by a soul baring honesty on this one, and as a result they've become a more accomplished outfit in the process.
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